Polk County keeps almost all books under review

After a national group called for 16 books to be removed from Polk County school libraries, most of the books will remain on the shelves – with some added to more libraries.

Driver news: At a workshop Tuesday, the Polk County School Board discussed results from an independent board of parents, teachers, students and librarians who reviewed the books in question.

  • According to a recommendation from the Superintendent, parents will soon be able to fill out an annual form in which they select or deselect their students to check certain titles at their school library.
  • Parents will also be able to review their student library’s reading history.

Looking back: The County Citizens’ Defending Freedom called for the books to be removed for violating Florida Statue 847,012 by containing “detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual arousal or sexual conduct that are harmful to minors.”

The latest: The independent board made recommendations for each book. Here’s what’s left of the shelves:

  • “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult will be pulled from middle schools but remain in high schools.
  • “Drama” by Raina Telgemier will be pulled from elementary schools, but will remain in middle and high schools.

What is being added: “Two Boys Kissing”, “More Happy Than Not”, “It’s Perfectly Normal” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” will be added to middle schools and remain in high schools.

  • “George” by Alex Gino will be added to elementary schools and remain in middle and high schools.

The rest of the titles remain available where they are.

But, but, but: The books will not be returned to school shelves until the opt-in / opt-out process is completed over the summer, Polk School spokesman Jason Geary told Axios.

What they say: Polk County School Board member Lisa Miller said at the workshop that her email inbox has been flooded with requests for the board to review “everything from Judy Bloom to the Bible.”

  • She urged the district to change its book review policy and said individual schools should decide which books are available.

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